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Ever had a relationship that was more pain than pleasure?
It may have been a relationship that was so toxic that you felt you would never be able to leave it or survive on your own. An abusive or toxic relationship can make you feel like your world has become glued like a sticky trap and you’re slowly suffocating in it.
However, there are benefits to ending a toxic relationship, even though it may be painful to do so. Aside from the freedom you gain after leaving the relationship once you realize it is toxic, you may experience a number of huge benefits to choosing a life without toxicity.
Here’s what to expect.
What Is a Toxic Relationship?
A toxic relationship, also called an unhealthy relationship, is any relationship you are in – whether with yourself, your family, your friends, colleagues, or a romantic partner – that isn’t healthy. When you are in an unhealthy relationship, you aren’t happy and just feel drained.
There may be moments of joy in the relationship, but overall, you regularly or constantly feel misunderstood, attacked, unsupported, controlled, or humiliated.
Essentially, your overall well-being is threatened, and this can be physically, psychologically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, or a combination of these.
You may love the other person, especially if they are family, a close friend, or your partner, or you may need to put up with the person if you work together. But you dread spending time with the unsafe person in your life, and rubbing each other the wrong way seems par for the course.
On the other hand, if you are in a healthy relationship, it just works. Sure, you may have disagreements and some ugly moments, but most of the time, you look forward to spending time with your loved one or colleague.
The fundamentals of a working relationship are in place: love, care, support, trust, honesty, loyalty, respect, collaboration, good communication and listening skills, kindness, commitment, and compromise.
At the end of the day, only you can decide whether your relationship is indeed toxic – that’s when the bad outweighs the good. You are also the only one who can tell how toxic a relationship is and whether it can be saved or if leaving is the only way out for you.
A quick note on toxicity and abuse in a relationship. In general, all abusive relationships are toxic or unhealthy, but not all toxic relationships are abusive. Abuse takes various forms and accompanies an element of “active intent to harm.”
Effects of Being in a Toxic Relationship
The effects of being in a toxic relationship, whether it’s in the playground, boardroom, or bedroom, are real.
Here’s some of what you may experience when you are in an unhealthy relationship:
7 Benefits to Ending a Toxic Relationship
Once you have identified the toxic relationship, it’s up to you to leave, but you may doubt whether you can or if you’ll really benefit from leaving what you may believe to be stability and love.
There are several benefits to leaving a toxic relationship, and these should help you decide to make the decision that’s right for you.
1. You’ll Develop the ability to be Able to Ask for Help
If you make up your mind to leave the relationship, it becomes easier to ask others for help and support.
When you stick with a toxic partner, you will harbor a twisted sense of loyalty that will keep you from asking for the help you need. Only once you decide to leave, will you be ready to ask for help.
You aren’t alone.
How to Ask for Help: Asking for help can take many forms. You may decide you are going for therapy as a way to get help, or you can speak to a trusted friend about getting support. If your relationship is abusive, there are charities and organizations that can help you with advice and physical support as needed.
2. Opens the Way for Others
Toxic relationships are often narcissistic in nature, and the toxic partner may isolate you and try to keep others away from you.
But when you leave the relationship, you’ll be amazed by how many people are ready to step up and support you, once the space opens for them to do so.
When you open up to people in your life, you can share and begin to unburden your heart so you can heal. Sharing with others also means you will gain an outside perspective on your relationship, which can be really helpful when untangling from your toxic relationship.
How to Get Perspective: Perspective is about seeing things from a new point, letting the information others have help you make a more informed decision.
3. What You Lose in “Love,” You Gain in Freedom
We don’t like being slaves to anyone or anything.
Humans are meant to live free and experience the liberty to make their own decisions and mistakes. Letting go of a toxic relationship is important if you want to experience freedom.
Real love sets you free, giving you wings to soar over life’s challenges, but a toxic relationship holds you down, preventing you from connecting with resources or support. Freedom means you will have time to yourself again and feel like you have a life again.
How to Gain Freedom: Start using affirmations to help you focus on what freedom looks like to you. Part of you may believe you don’t deserve freedom, but freedom isn’t a birthright, it’s a human right. With freedom comes joy, satisfaction, and a feeling of being safe.
4. Restored Self-Worth
There’s nothing worse than being in a relationship that breaks down your sense of self. When you leave the person who’s holding you down, you allow the breath of freedom to help you discover your self-worth again.
Leaving a toxic relationship will help you recover by removing the person who was toxic from your life. This is why it’s important to sever the relationship ties completely as you don’t want to leave room for them to infect you with more toxicity.
How to Restore Self-Worth: To restore self-worth, give yourself the time and space to read a self-development book like Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Use the ideas and guidance in the book to rebuild yourself and celebrate your uniqueness.
5. Walk to Freedom
To get your freedom and live happily and freely from your toxic partner requires space, movement, and careful planning.
Walking and other activities you simply didn’t have time for (or needed your toxic partner’s permission for) can help you rise to your feet and feel more at peace with who you are.
When you leave your toxic partner, you will have the time to do the personal self-care you so richly deserve.
Toxic relationships often bring serious restrictions that can limit your life and your potential. While freedom sounds glorious, you may struggle to reach it if you are stuck in limbo. Walk, move, rebound, or shake your way to a forward-thinking mind.
How to Live Without Limits: Take up a new hobby such as walking or hiking to help you develop the means and forward momentum to break out of the inertia you’ve been trapped in with your toxic partner. You can even celebrate life by doing something you’ve never done before.
6. Better Mental Health
Toxic relationships are bad for you, all of you.
Not only can toxic relationships cause eating disorders, but they can also lead to mental health conditions like doubt, stress, and anxiety.
Take the time once you’ve broken off your toxic relationship to heal, learn about yourself, and focus on what you want from life now it’s no longer toxic.
How to Cultivate a Better Mental Health: Toxic relationships are damaging because they often make you believe the worst about yourself. To recover requires that you see yourself for the beautiful and unique human you are. Mirror work is a good way to engage in self-love and self-acceptance.
Stand in front of a mirror, look at your reflection, and speak an affirmation to remind yourself of who you are and how amazing you are.
7. It’s Just in Time
Often, people stay in toxic relationships because they don’t know they are worthy of better. When the relationship ends, it brings with it a sense of having been just in time (although, it may also feel like you’ve wasted a lot of time).
Leaving the toxic person can give you opportunities to appreciate time and how it affects your life. Toxic people can have such a detrimental effect on you that your life expectancy decreases.
How to Make the Most of Time: Become aware of how you spend your day. You’ve probably picked up a few nervous habits and bad habits because of the toxic partner you had. Note how much time you spend on you and how often you neglect yourself for the sake of others.
Keep a time journal and practice mindfulness to help you see where you can save time and gain happiness by letting that toxic relationship go. The main benefit of letting go is you will have time for all the things you’ve always wanted to do.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits to Ending a Toxic Relationship
Being in a toxic relationship is unsafe… and if you don’t identify the toxicity and decide to leave, it’ll soon encompass your whole life, slowly infecting toxicity into everything. While toxicity may be all you know, there are powerful benefits to leaving all of that behind.
Discover the power in asking for help, the calm in opening up and sharing to safe people, and the freedom to experience joy again. You’ll also learn to feel worthy (with lots of hard work) and prioritize self-care so your overall well-being will feel healthy and good again.
If you decide that you’ve had enough of the toxicity in your life, follow these 15 safe steps to getting out of a toxic relationship.
You are worthy of more! Plus, you can only end all toxicity for once and all when you know why you attract toxic or unsafe people in your life. Here are 7 real reasons why you are a toxic magnet.
And if you're looking for more resources on toxic relationships, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- Toxic VS Healthy Relationship: 7 Important Differences
- 13 Painful Signs a Narcissist is About to Discard You
- 15 Safe Steps to Get Out of a Toxic Relationship